KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - Inside the MILA Spaceflight Tracking and Data Network Station during a visit to Kennedy, mission STS-114 Mission Specialist Andrew Thomas (center) looks at equipment while Sonja Ashworth, with Honeywell, builds communication cables. The tracking station serves as the primary voice, data and telemetry communications link between the Shuttle and the ground from launch until 7-1/2 minutes into the flight. Millions of clues about the performance of the Space Shuttle?s main engines and other components are communicated to launch managers, technicians and engineers on the ground, who must keep their fingers on the pulse of the Space Shuttle during the critical ascent period. In a typical year, MILA provides through KSC more than 10,000 hours of data between spacecraft and data users. MILA is also used during a Space Shuttle landing at KSC and provides communications beginning about 13 minutes before touchdown. Also, MILA can be called upon to provide data transfer support for NASA?s Expendable Launch Vehicle missions and orbiting scientific satellites.